The new (Klingon) Reputation System

So, I already gave the new Reputation system that was introduced with the new Klingon Core Rules in the main discussion thread and also in the thread about the Federation insert sheet.

But I want to discuss some points. :wink:

  • I miss “Responsibility”
    In the old system detailed in the Core Rulebook on pp. 140 ff., a Reputation check was basically a check with a number of d20 equal to the positive influences against the difficulty of negative influences while Privilege acted as your focus and Responsibility as the complication range. In the new, ‘Klingon’ system, your reputation itself works as focus (which is very nice!) and what was Responsibility is now Shame/Reprimand. This also is very cool, because it’s more dynamic and tied to your actual reputation (the higher the reputation, the easier to get more; the more stains on your reputation (Shame/Reprimand) the faster there will be more stains).
    What I actually miss is the factor that it should be easier for an ensign to gain reputation than for a captain. I liked the link to the character’s rank in determining the effects of reputation.
    Maybe, one could modify the Glory/Acclaim cost of a raise of reputation to the ranks or lower the target number (I think I’d prefer this), forming tiers:
    • Non-Commissioned and Ensigns: +0
      I thought of starting with -1 here, but this would not blend in well with the following rule for promotions.
    • Lieutenants: +1
    • Senior Officers (LtCmdr and above): +2

After starting into the game with the usual reputation score,
Ensign E would (first method) spend four Glory/Acclaim to raise their reputation one point, while Lieutenant L would need to spend five Glory/Acclaim, and Captain C would need to spend seven points. This, however, gets stupidly expensive when going to the upper tiers.

The second method proves to be better, I think: With the same reputation, the target number of Ensign E would be 10, that of Lieutenant L would be 9 and that of Captain C would be 7. Though the target number of the captain would not rise above 10 and they, thus, have a 50/50 chance of not getting Shame/Reprimand for any negative influence, this is compensated by the possibility of the Dishonor by Association Shame/Reprimand spend. If one wanted to further compensate, one could indeed raise the target number for NCOs/Ensigns by one and lower the target number for LtCmdr and above by one, leaving Lieutenants unaffected.

In total, this is a very strong nudge towards Starfleet’s ideals for players and characters.

  • I miss the “now it’s time for promotion” guideline
    In the old system, the rule of thumb was that a character was fit for promotion when their reputation was around 15. I’m pretty sure it has been discussed in this forums whether one should reset the reputation (akin to the demotion-rules in the old system, where reputation was reset to 9) to a value of 10–14, but I didn’t find the post. :confused:
    In the new system, a promotion can be bought, in principle, at any value of reputation. In my opinion, the reputation should at least influence the probability of a promotion. I think I’ll probably houserule as follows:

    • A promotion will not only cost Glory/Acclaim, but also one level of reputation. This means that a character with a reputation of 0 can only be promoted if they rise their reputation prior to the promotion. They still lose this point with the promotion, effectively staying at 0 reputation but having to pay more Glory/Acclaim for the promotion.
      This reflects that performance in one’s duties is not equal among all personnel; what would be acceptable for ensigns would not necessarily be acceptable for lieutenants. It encourages to first gain some reputation before aspiring the next promotion.
    • A promotion will not cost a fixed value of Glory/Acclaim, but a number of Glory/Acclaim equal to 6 minus their current reputation. Thus, the promotion is linked to the character’s reputation like in the old system, but much more dynamic, as even characters of reputation 0 can, in principle, be promoted, but only in very exceptional cases (as they have to pay 6 Glory/Acclaim for the promotion and an additional Glory/Acclaim for the necessary reputation gain; this is possible, but since you cannot bank Glory/Acclaim for later use, very hard to achieve).
      This reflects that gaining a promotion is hard when your reputation is very low, but easier if you’re renowned for your performance as a Starfleet Officer (or warrior, for that matter).
    • One might even think of tying promotion costs to the rank; it’s easier to become a junior lieutenant than a captain, but this is, for now, too mini-gamy for my taste. :wink: Also, this factor should be included in the system that replaces the missing Responsibility that I have yet to invent. :wink:
    • Generally, however, a character should acquire at least one arc milestone in between of promotions.
      Promotions should not be the only character development happening and to Commanding Officers and/or Gamemasters, acquiring (and using) an arc milestone should be a good rule of thumb for this.
  • Awards are inconsistent
    I will go in-depth into this in a separate thread. :slight_smile:

  • Shame/Reprimand shouldn’t simply pile up
    As @Shran already pointed out (and rightly so): The GM should be able to spend Shame/Reprimand for a character. However, since the whole reputation and advancement system is designed to center on the players and their agency, this should not go without constraints.

    • Thus, my take would be that players can always ‘without danger’ (i.e. without the danger of the GM interfering) can pile up up to (and including) five points of Shame/Reprimand. These simply raise the complication range of further reputation checks, but nothing else. The moment players bank more Shame/Reprimand than five, the GM is allowed to spend any surplus Shame/Reprimand for the character. This could include the GM colluding with the Commanding Officer to e.g. demote, detain or court-martial the character.
    • Groups might decide to put this completely into the hands of a commanding officer. In this case, if a character under the command of a commanding officer has piled up more than 5 points of Shame/Reprimand, each point exceeding 5 can also be spent by the Commanding Officer. Any such surplus point of Shame of their subordinate officers that remains unspent by the next reputation check of the Commanding Officer then counts as a negative influence. This way, a Commanding Officer has one adventure/mission (they usually go first with their checks so their next check after those of their subordinates will be after the next adventure) to in game reprimand any characters with more than 5 Shame/Reprimand – or be seen as inconsequential, weak or not caring for their subordinates (e.g. suffering negative influences).
      Alternatively, any unspent point of Shame/Reprimand exceeding 5 could be transferred to the Commanding Officer as Shame/Reprimand – who then, in turn, can spend those points either on themselves or on the character where the Shame originated.
    • What do you think?
  • Introduce More Chain of Command
    At least with Klingons, the Chain of Command could be an actual chain to go get and beat one with until one understands who’s in ruttin’ command here, but it’s also a thing in Starfleet. This chain works both ways and I love the Commend Another and Dishonor by Association spend options for Glory/Acclaim and Shame/Reprimand! However, I think, these options should not be limited to the Commanding Officer.

    • At least the Executive Officer should have access to these spends, too. In this case, the Executive Officer should do his reputation check immediately after the Commanding Officer did their’s.
    • Even broader, you could decide having every character have access to these spends, with the requirement that
      • they outrank the Commended/Dishonored by Association character and
      • in case of Dishonored by Association, the Dishonored character was under the authority of the character spending Shame/Reprimand at least in one situation that lead to a negative influence on their reputation check for this mission (reflecting that the Dishonored is shamed for having led to the failure of the situation).
    • In the latter case, obviously, reputation checks should be made in order of rank, with Commanding Officer first and then highest to lowest. Since this would make the life of low-ranking characters a bit… harsh in certain character setups, one could introduce the counter-balance that
      • one can only Dishonor by Association characters with more unspent Shame/Reprimand than oneself
      • Dishonor by Association can only be used once during a round of reputation checks
      • (maybe, though not my favourite, I think) Dishonor by Association would not count as a negative influence for the whole group, but only for one specific player (i.e. transforming Dishonor by Association to the inversion of Recommand Another).

So, this was one wall of text.

What do you think?

1 Like

I don’t, but I somehow like your idea of increasing the Acclaim cost of raising reputation.

Since promotions don’t really have any gameplay effects, I tend to handle this narratively. If we play on an Intrepid class ship, there is no post available for a Commander, only Lieutenant Commander. So promoting someone to Commander rank would mean that the character gets transferred to a different ship, and that might not be in a player’s interest.

I think every department head should have the ability to Commend Another within their department. Captain and XO should be able to Commend Another for the whole crew. And year, going from highest to lowest rank seems like a good idea to commanding officers can dispense of their Acclaim/Reprimands first.

1 Like

I’d actually prefer to lower the target number instead of raising the Glory/Acclaim cost.

Take an Ensign and a Captain both on standard reputation with 8 positive against zero negative influences.

When using standard rules, both would need 4 Glory/Acclaim to raise their reputation by one step. The odds are 50/50 that they manage to achieve this.

When raising the Glory/Acclaim cost, the Ensign would need 4 Glory/Acclaim to raise their reputation by one, the Ensign would need to achieve 4 Glory/Acclaim, while the Captain would need 6 Glory/Acclaim.
Again, for the Ensign the odds would be 50/50, yet 25/75 for the Captain.

When lowering the target-number, both would still need 4 Glory/Acclaim and the odds for the Ensign are still 50/50. Yet, the odds for the Captain would be only 40/60.

Raising Glory/Acclaim is particularly harder than lowering the target number.

I came to the forums because I was thinking the same thing…there’s no consequence of never spending Shame in the rules as written. Glad some are already thinking about it!

@MisterX have you tried your Shame system yet? In my Starfleet campaign, my first thought was I would force a court martial if someone chooses to “bank” 5 or more Shame. I’m not sure it will ever get that high anyway, but I want people to know that there’s a consequence for not spending Shame. I’m not sure about the CO spending shame yet…it’s a very interesting thought!

Cardassian Trait ‘Duty and Discipline’ gives you bonuses if you assist a superior officer. Well, gives the superior officer bonuses when you assist them technically. But I take your meaning, rank usually doesn’t matter.

“You watch yourself, Dodge. You are addressing a superior officer!”
“No, merely a higher ranking one”


I’m getting ready for our first reputation rolls. It was late last time we stopped so I figured I’d do that at the beginning of our session tonight.

My understanding is that Glory is to be spent immediately. What do most people do with 1 glory? Most of their rolls look like they’re going to be 2d20 difficulty 0-1, so I think 1 Glory is likely for several characters. They only met one NPC so I don’t know how many favors they can get out of the same ensign. :slight_smile:

Nope, unfortunately not. Sadly, I do not have an active STA campaign.

I thought about the “auto-court-martial”, but I would recommend that this would only occur at 10 unspent shame. The system as I was proposing to modify works as follows:

  • Player piles up up to 5 Shame that raises the complication range. It shall always be up to the player what to do with these 5 points of Shame. The player is already “punished” for piling up shame (as the complication range for rep checks is raised). Player agency is important.
  • For any surplus Shame, the player risks intervention by others, i.e. by the GM or the CO or whomever. They, however, by spending Shame for them have to leave the player at least 5 shame.

If, e.g. a player has piled up 6 points of Shame, there would be one point that’s open to spend by whoever is allowed to spend it (you could also make it a decision of the whole group). Thus, a court-martial would be possible at 10 ‘banked’ Shame (5 that are to be spent by the player and 5 that are to be spent by the GM/whoever). There shall be an incentive to not to go over five banked Shame, but the player should always be respected in their choice to raise the complication range to 5. :slight_smile:

Well, it depends on how you handle the chain of command, but a promotion grants another rank and, thus, the character might “lose” superior officers (that are now mere colleagues) and might “gain” officers under their authority. In game terms, this is relevant for Directives.

Dunno. But since in the rules as written in the Klingon Core Book lack the option of saving milestones, you might choose to introduce something akin to the Reputation system. Maybe the players can start with 1 bonus Momentum into the next adventure? Maybe two or three Glory for one bonus point of Determination? I’d say I take one point of Shame away for two bonus Threat at the beginning of the next adventure… :slight_smile:

I tried doing reputation rolls (rules as written) with my group last night, and it did not go over very well. :frowning:

First, I kind of sprung it on them without them knowing, so they were bothered by having positive/negative influences without knowing what was expected of them. That’s totally on me. Next time I would give them the checklists before using that system.

But I think the thing they were most critical about is the fact that, although they all did the same mission and succeeded, one person can get a medal while another person gets shame based simply on how good their reputation roll is. And I agree with them, the randomness of it was a bit weird. The individuality of it is also a little weird considering they all succeeded together as a team.

Another thing that I’m not crazy about is that people could get promoted and earn medals (or get turned down for them) after every episode. I think I like doing the advancement/value checks every time, but I feel like the reputation checks need to be more spaced out, like maybe every 3-5 episodes?

It’s rough having a session like that where everyone’s frustrated, especially when I somewhat agree with them. I wanted to get some actual gameplay in, but unfortunately we spent most of the time complaining about the reputation system.

I wanted to give the system a chance but I don’t think it’s going to work for us as is. I do like the checklist idea, but maybe instead of them being influences on a roll, I could just keep an ongoing tally and figure out some way to use that to give out awards.

I never did read the original reputation rules so maybe I’ll check those out.

That was not my experience at all. But maybe that was due to the fact that I teased the new reputation system as “much better” than the previous one.

I like the randomness. First of all, if you have not done anything negative, you can’t get any Shame/Reprimands. And if you have a negative influence, the randomness represents how much importance Starfleet Command attaches to that negative influence.

Valuable advice. :slight_smile:

They succeeded together as a team, but obviously, some with and some without honour. Sometimes, the responsibility for dishonourable action rests only on the shoulders of one person: The one being dishonourable. I actually do think that this supports the drama, as:

  • The mechanics of the positive/negative influences tend to result in more or less equal roll setups (i.e. dice/difficulty) for everyone, if the group acts in unison.
  • Divergent roll setups will result of differences within the group: One character acts dishonourable, the others call them out. Negative influence for the one, positive influence for the rest. The resulting roll will be useable to further generate drama among the characters, regardless its actual outcome.
  • Even with equal roll setups, the remaining randomness can serve as a generator for more drama.

And this is where the drama kicks in: Why did Lt Examplia win all the laurels where Lt E.G. Random would have deserved the credit? Will Lt Examplia now show entitlement and lower their efforts, becoming lazy? Will they feel spurred to go even further? Will they try to make it up for E.G. Random and let them shine brighter the next mission? And what will Random do about all that? Feel challenged and competitive? Envy Examplia? Be frustrated?
If the players can distinguish between character and player and are up for such inter-personal drama, this can be a very good (random) generator.

With the commend another Glory/Acclaim spend option, the system also supports a mechanic to rectify random rolls of the past (a bit).

Another thought that steals a bit from the old milestones system: Have the group decide who was the most honourable character in the adventure. If the group can (in unison!) decide which character deserves the honour (most), this could work simply as another commend another Glory/Acclaim spend without actually costing something. Or it could grant the ability to re-roll.

For players that fear bad reputation rolls, one could think of talents that either treat the reputation score higher, the unspent Shame lower or grant re-rolls. I’ll probably come up with descriptions at some time. :slight_smile:

Yeah goes to show you how the setup can influence everyone’s attitudes! I teased it as “I’m not sure about this system”. :slight_smile:

Maybe that’s the key…I need to make sure they’re OK with that type of thing. We’ve not really played a game like this where character drama is prioritized over skills and experience points, so it might take some attitude adjustment.

So here are my thoughts on how to proceed:

Be more forgiving on negative influences, e.g. don’t say “took unnecessary risk” just because they were adding to threat a lot and charging in for melee combat. Maybe only apply negatives if they intentionally did something wrong or because a value used negatively affects the mission.

Explain that the intention of the rolls is not to punish people for bad rolls or reward people for good rolls, but more to account for team dynamics, i.e. some people get overlooked, and some people are the captain’s pet. Maybe something you said in the debrief impressed the captain or ticked him/her off.

Then I need to make sure they’re OK with that concept of randomness and possibly using that as a dramatic tool.

The thing I’m still not sure about is how often to do the reputation rolls. If they’re rolling 4d20 with difficulty 0 every time we play, they’re all going to make captain before the end of season 1. :smile: Or end up getting every medal available.

Maybe an idea like that would work. Or something like having to spend glory to put it into your “Promotion Bank” and require a certain number there before giving promotions.

I guess I’m kind of wanting some more options for using glory that are less consequential, like the idea of using a glory to get one bonus momentum next session, or things of that nature. Getting a favor from an NPC for 1 glory and getting a medal for 2 is a drastic difference.

After reading the original reputation rules from the core book, I think that will work better for us. At least in that system, if you make one bad roll, it might cost you some reputation but not much else. I think that will be easier to swallow for the players. I gather the Klingon rules would feel better in a Klingon campaign.

I still want to use the advancement rules from the Klingon book. I think the players will end up liking the logging aspect.